Lars and the Real Girl

If I tell you that this movie is about a man whose mental breakdown takes the form of a delusion wherein he believes that a realistic sex doll is his actual living, human girlfriend, well, you can probably expect that it's a bit, well, weird. And it comes as no surprise when I tell you that there are a number of very uncomfortable moments as he takes his "girlfriend" to church, to a party, to dinner at his brother and sister-in-law's house. On the surface, it doesn't seem like the kind of movie that I would like. I mean, beyond what I've already said, the movie really stretches credulity with the way that this man's community plays along with his delusion, that one woman even maintains her crush on him (this is the other figure that I believe the "Real Girl" in the title refers to). But if the story isn't quite right, the performances really are. Ryan Gosling, who plays the delusional title character, is rapidly cementing his position in my mind as one of today's best young(-ish) actors--and considering how much I hated The Notebook, I think that's quite an accomplishment. His performance in this film was just amazing. I also always like Emily Mortimer, and Paul Schneider also handled his role quite well. Patricia Clarkson's performance wasn't exactly breathtaking but what I noticed is that she seems to have a good range as an actor--her wise, maternal character in this film is nothing like her part as the irresponsible, hippy-ish aunt on [i]Six Feet Under[/i]. I really appreciate that sort of unpretentious competence in a character actor. Lars and the Real Girl is not one you need to rush out to see--I'd say you can safely wait and rent it--but if you're looking for an offbeat film with some great acting you might consider checking it out.

Viewed: 10/27/2007 | Released: 10/24/2007 | Score: B-

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